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Did anyone struggle not having a degree?

Did anyone struggle not having a degree?

Old Oct 15th 2009, 3:29 pm
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Default Did anyone struggle not having a degree?

I was lucky enough to have a Bachelor's when I came here from the UK, but never understood it was such a BIG deal (my mistake). It seems like you can't even get a job as a bricklayer without one.

Back in the UK it wasn't even a consideration when applying for jobs, they were more interested in experience, but what a difference here!

I even went so far as to do a second degree in Computer Science a couple of years after arriving just to get a US GPA and a US college transcript - excessive maybe, but in my career it's critical if I want to have an open field when moving jobs.

So did anyone fall into the "degree trap", or did most of you guys open up your own business, most of the other Brits I have met since being here wanted to work for themselves.
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Old Oct 15th 2009, 4:19 pm
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Default Re: Did anyone struggle not having a degree?

I think you are right. While in the UK I think there is still a willingness by employers to consider experience first and education second, over here, unless you've managed to engineer some other 'in', if you can't tick the degree box you are totally on the back foot.

I even think the Bachelors degree is becoming somewhat diluted these days...for mid career onwards experienced professional people, the standard is fast becoming a Masters (and yes, you could say I willingly entered the degree trap....I'm currently waiting on the results of my Masters Degree. If you can't beat 'em, might as well join 'em...).

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Old Oct 15th 2009, 5:15 pm
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Default Re: Did anyone struggle not having a degree?

Originally Posted by Retseh View Post
I was lucky enough to have a Bachelor's when I came here from the UK, but never understood it was such a BIG deal (my mistake). It seems like you can't even get a job as a bricklayer without one.
Agreed.....I don't have a degree but have more than the 'equivalent' experience having been in IT for 12 years. A lot of employers won't budge from the requirement for a degree, they would rather employ a clueless spotty college grad than someone who can actually do the job.

It really torches one's nads but what can one do?
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Old Oct 15th 2009, 5:19 pm
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Default Re: Did anyone struggle not having a degree?

Originally Posted by BritishGuy36 View Post
Agreed.............

It really torches one's nads but what can one do?
Captain Obvious called me and said tell him to get a degree then.
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Old Oct 15th 2009, 5:24 pm
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Default Re: Did anyone struggle not having a degree?

My husband (the UKC) has been in IT for about 9ish years now, and only has certifications and experience under his belt. Yes, I know there were some doors closed in his face (positions he never got to interview for but could definitely do), but for the most part he's never had a problem getting an IT job here. He does have an associates degree, but it's not in a field related to his IT career - I don't know if this has helped him or not in gaining jobs since it showed he did do some schooling. There are a lot of jobs that specify they desire a degreed person, but oftentimes they also say they will consider someone with combined experience and certifications. Pretty much every job he's ever interviewed for, he's been offered, so I guess we've been very lucky thus far.

I think the degree trap very much depends on what field a person is in.
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Old Oct 15th 2009, 5:28 pm
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Default Re: Did anyone struggle not having a degree?

Originally Posted by sunflwrgrl13 View Post
My husband (the UKC) has been in IT for about 9ish years now, and only has certifications and experience under his belt. Yes, I know there were some doors closed in his face (positions he never got to interview for but could definitely do), but for the most part he's never had a problem getting an IT job here. He does have an associates degree, but it's not in a field related to his IT career - I don't know if this has helped him or not in gaining jobs since it showed he did do some schooling. There are a lot of jobs that specify they desire a degreed person, but oftentimes they also say they will consider someone with combined experience and certifications. Pretty much every job he's ever interviewed for, he's been offered, so I guess we've been very lucky thus far.

I think the degree trap very much depends on what field a person is in.
I am looking for a good brickie, no degree required.

And a plasterer.
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Old Oct 15th 2009, 5:35 pm
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Default Re: Did anyone struggle not having a degree?

Originally Posted by Boiler View Post
I am looking for a good brickie, no degree required.

And a plasterer.
Well, I have no experience doing either one, but will you hire me? I guarantee I'll be cheaper than my competitors.
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Old Oct 15th 2009, 9:14 pm
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Default Re: Did anyone struggle not having a degree?

I don't have a degree but again, plenty of industry specific qualifications (Broadcast Engineering). Fortunately my experience and resume seem to so far, worked out extremely well. The only issue was PBS who weeded me out in HR before it even got to the department. I've subsequently been published in some trade journals so it all helps.

Now, if I changed my cheese, well it would put me at a disadvantage
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Old Oct 15th 2009, 10:40 pm
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Default Re: Did anyone struggle not having a degree?

Originally Posted by sunflwrgrl13 View Post
Well, I have no experience doing either one, but will you hire me? I guarantee I'll be cheaper than my competitors.
Not sure you can call yourself one if you are not qualified to do it.

Like me calling myself an Immigration Lawyer

If you can get your skill set over the winter you are on, just need to fill out the I9.
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Old Oct 16th 2009, 12:07 am
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Default Re: Did anyone struggle not having a degree?

Around here, I wouldn't even consider hiring someone with anything less than a PhD. And it has to be from a proper university too. No dressed-up-polytechnics or liberal arts colleges around here, thank you very much!

So the 'I went to the university of life' crowd can put that in their pipe and smoke it!

(spoken as a former 'clueless spotty college grad')
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Old Oct 16th 2009, 4:11 am
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Default Re: Did anyone struggle not having a degree?

Originally Posted by caleyjag View Post
Around here, I wouldn't even consider hiring someone with anything less than a PhD. And it has to be from a proper university too. No dressed-up-polytechnics or liberal arts colleges around here, thank you very much!

So the 'I went to the university of life' crowd can put that in their pipe and smoke it!

(spoken as a former 'clueless spotty college grad')
You jest, but round here credential inflation has got to the point where I've seen actual job ads (for not very good, public sector, jobs) requiring a PhD in any field, related or not. You can just imagine the two kids in HR looking at the volume of applications they have to process and asking each other "What's one up from a Master's?"
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Old Oct 16th 2009, 4:57 am
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Default Re: Did anyone struggle not having a degree?

Originally Posted by chartreuse View Post
You jest, but round here credential inflation has got to the point where I've seen actual job ads (for not very good, public sector, jobs) requiring a PhD in any field, related or not. You can just imagine the two kids in HR looking at the volume of applications they have to process and asking each other "What's one up from a Master's?"
I was jesting. I work for a big biotech company. Pretty much everyone here has to have a PhD - it's basically an apprenticeship for science.

But I would imagine that the degree escalation thing you talk about is an inevitable result of the state of the economy.

Also, I can't stand people who whinge and moan about students. Usually sad old codgers sitting in some cheapshit pub sipping on Tennents Velvet. Miserable bastards. You know the guys I'm talking about.
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Old Oct 16th 2009, 5:04 am
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Default Re: Did anyone struggle not having a degree?

Originally Posted by caleyjag View Post
I was jesting. I work for a big biotech company. Pretty much everyone here has to have a PhD - it's basically an apprenticeship for science.

But I would imagine that the degree escalation thing you talk about is an inevitable result of the state of the economy.

Also, I can't stand people who whinge and moan about students. Usually sad old codgers sitting in some cheapshit pub sipping on Tennents Velvet. Miserable bastards. You know the guys I'm talking about.
That's the same for both countries in science.
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Old Oct 16th 2009, 5:30 am
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Default Re: Did anyone struggle not having a degree?

Originally Posted by caleyjag View Post
I was jesting. I work for a big biotech company. Pretty much everyone here has to have a PhD - it's basically an apprenticeship for science.

But I would imagine that the degree escalation thing you talk about is an inevitable result of the state of the economy.

Also, I can't stand people who whinge and moan about students. Usually sad old codgers sitting in some cheapshit pub sipping on Tennents Velvet. Miserable bastards. You know the guys I'm talking about.
In your field that makes perfect sense. If I was going to give somebody money to do research, I'd want to see some evidence that they could do... well, research. And I'm with you on the miserable bastards, too (though they sometimes do have a point, eg on the liberal arts rubbish that gets shoehorned into BScs over here).

But I'm less sanguine about the escalation thing. It sounds fine, if you posit some absolute standard that a degree represents, but outside of a very few colleges, that's not the case.

Rather, I'd argue that we have a very dodgy situation, where the credential seeking behaviour of employers gets locked into a feedback loop with the student fee seeking nature of many schools over here. At worst, the schools end up as little more than degree mills, the employers make bad hiring decisions based on poor or irrelevant data and the poor bloody infantry end up burdened with debt way beyond what's reasonable for their pay grade.

Normal distributions are exactly that - normal. And I don't see how insisting that the 20th percentile must have degrees can do anything but devalue degrees.
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Old Oct 16th 2009, 1:35 pm
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Default Re: Did anyone struggle not having a degree?

Qualification inflation like this has been going on for years.
I am a Chartered Engineer and back in the 1970s (so I'm told) an engineer could become Chartered with a HND being the minimum qualification.

I became Chartered with a bachelors degree, but the minimum requirement now specified by the Institution of Engineering & Technology is a Masters degree.

I don't know if it's a case of degrees are getting easier to obtain, or that they are becoming devalued because so many more people get a degree nowadays.
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